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Ironman is Sunshine and Rainbows

…oh, I mean marriage is.

Wait.  No.  Marriage is NOT sunshine and rainbows.  I want my money back.

So, the Expert and I haven’t been doing so well.  And I wasn’t going to say anything, but the proverbial fan hitting of the poo kind of happened yesterday.

And well, I woke up to a post by and on Swim Bike Dad about things.

Here it is, in his own words…  And for the record… I do want him in Idaho at the race.  And I do see his side of things. And I do want to somehow survive this long, endurance race of marriage.  The timing of this all… quite impeccable, I must say.  But when does life happen at a good time?

Post here and below.

(I recognize that some of you may not think this is an appropriate forum for this.  You have a choice—-don’t read it.)

* * *

Swim Bike Dad here…

How do you take back hurting someone? How do you take back 12 years of hurt? How, after 12 years do you just look past all the crap and see only the good parts of someone? I don’t have the answers and, Lord knows I’m no “expert” on being a husband, father, son or brother… but I’m faced with such a dilemma.

So here is the issue. After 12 years of marriage, two kids, seven homes and seven job changes we (Meredith and I) have served up a decent helping of emotional trauma…on both sides. This sh*t piles up. At any given moment it’s easy to pull out a laundry list of wrong doings and pummel your significant other with B.S. from—–well—-as long as 12 years ago.

And I, for one, am an “expert” at wrong-doing recall (WDR). Repeat after me.

My names is James and I don’t let go of things.

The last six months has seen a dramatic increase in WDR. Kinda like global warming —–but way more annoying. And yes, this directly correlates with Meredith training for the ironman. When the training started everything was cool. We would ride together. Get some runs and swims in. But then things started to shift—-which basically boiled down to her being absent all weekend and every morning.

Throw in a good-looking coach, lots of new friends and well—you can imagine. But here’s the kicker….it’s not so much the time away, the new friends, or even having to play “Daddy Day Care” for six months. I’m totally fine with that.

I’m just not dealing well with the “new” Meredith… AT ALL.

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It’s a classic story really. Couple gets together. Couple settles into very similar routines, patterns, friends etc. Then one person changes for the better while the other does not. Add to the mix that the Changer has a huge support structure and is basically awesome—- and well the Non-Changer reverts to treating the Changer like crap. And is basically a big baby. To make matters worse it’s all public. So I’m basically a big fat cliché ….but at least I recognize it.

Does it matter? I’m not sure.

So here’s the deal. I desperately need to hit the reset button and have my wife look at me and not see an asshole…or the dude snoring in her ear at night….or the guy who said “X horrible thing” on (insert any number of dates here).

It just needs to happen. I have two weeks until her big race an—–at this point, I’m sure she would rather I not come at all. Which sucks… but it’s a fact.

If I screw this one up… I’m not sure there is any going back.

Thanks for listening.

* * *

SBM again here… Knowing my husband as I do… this post was hard for him for many reasons.  He doesn’t love to write. He doesn’t love to publicly display things. And he’s tolerated this very public, out-there wife for a long time.  I am not perfect and have placed equally as many emotional scars on him.  I know he probably doesn’t enjoy a lot of what I’ve got going on.

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The question is—can we keep it all going—and will Ironman seriously be the cliche cause of a marriage downfall?

I can’t cross that finishline knowing the Expert isn’t there.  Because even through the crap, he’s been a support for me. He has watched the kids. He has tolerated a lot.  And he has sacrificed much of himself for me. Even though we are both experiencing a sort of Iron anger in the middle of all this… I wrote this 10 Day Dedication post a few days ago, in the middle of it.  And I still mean every word.  Because at the core, we are something.  We have more than this race means.  And it’s not worth it to throw any of it away.

I think we both recognize that. Again. And again.  And honestly, I hope we can continue to hold it together forever.  No matter the bumps in the road.

And for that, I am posting his 10 Day Dedication a tad early…  because I think we both need it.

Here’s the 10 Day Dedication to my Expert. 

And to mirror the Expert… thank you all for listening.

28 Comments

  • Dara

    June 10, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I know that it was difficult for both of you to share these feelings. But from an outsiders point of view, I’m glad to see that other marriages aren’t perfect either. My husband and I have only been married two years and we are going through a similar situation. I recently just spent six months training for my first marathon and I am spending the next four months training for a 50 miler. I am surrounded by amazingly supportive group of women who I’ve become very close to. Meanwhile, my husband is going to school and working full time and he’ sick of having his nose stuck in a book while I hit the trails and roads. It’s a tough balancing act especially since we have a four year old son and I become very wrapped up in whatever I’m working on at the time. We’ve stopped talking about pretty much everything but the basics and I’m a pro at WDR myself. ANyway, that’s my story. Thank you for sharing your own. I feel a little less alone now.

    Reply
  • Emily

    June 10, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Having been married for 23yrs and going through
    Many issues and many boxes of tissue my main
    Advice is to talk about it. Because when you stop talking about
    How you feel is when trouble starts. I leave the house at
    4:45 am to swim and then work out after work getting ready
    For my first sprint tri and I know it is not easy on my spouse
    So I make it a point to take Friday and Sunday off from training
    To spend time with him. Marriage is not all rainbows it is dark clouds and
    Tornados but once you weather the storm the rainbows come.

    Reply
  • Rachel K.

    June 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I say this with compassion, respect & understanding…please read between the lines of your husband’s note. For the benefit of your marriage and your children, I really believe you should take a step back and examine what you’ve got going on in your life. I know that you are trying to accomplish something personally for yourself – but I think the question is at what cost? I’m not for a minute casting blame on either of you, anyone who has been married for more than 5 minutes knows that we all carry our share of responsibility when a relationship breaks down. I just so hope that yours can emerge stronger and better for the “on the job training” you both have accumulated. You guys are at a very intense time in a families life (with the ages & stages of your kids, careers, etc.). It does calm down and become more manageable. Wishing the best for all of you!

    Reply
  • Kristy

    June 10, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Unfortunately, life is all about balance. I loved the sprint tri I completed last year, but like you and the Expert we have two little kids (7 and 4). Training for 3 sports took a toll on our marriage and time together. This is why I trained for just a half marathon in the spring and I have another one in the fall. I am all for being an Ironman and training. However, there has to be a balance and I was not a good person during training and neither was my husband. I am glad that the Expert was so open about his feelings…keep talking about it, take a break from training in a few weeks and hang out with your husband. I love the honesty that you post on the blog and am glad to see that not all relationships are perfect.

    Reply
  • Steven Jackson

    June 10, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I like your website but get off of the 10 Day Dedication crap because it is nothing but garbage. Your husband should have spoken to you privately about this unless both of you consider your lives to be triathlon reality shows.

    Leave him alone about going to Idaho. If he doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t have to. At this point, I think that you want him to go so you can save face to your readers. You sacrificed so much so far for Idaho, why let your husband or marriage get in the way. After all, you are a triathlete.

    Reply
  • Laura Walls

    June 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

    As much as I love the sport and have introduced my husband to cycling (he is now SO good) , running (he is now a marathoner) – he has been a loyal tri sherpa for four years. I agree with Rachel in that it may be time to examine what is going on in your life and his. As humans we don’t do anything without getting (and at times demanding) something back. Ask, why am I doing this? What is my motive? What are the pros and cons? And, talk, talk, talk. Compromise, compromise, compromise. But, never sacrifice yourself to save a relationship – you would always resent it (and him). Is there an easy answer? No. It aways works out if we get out of our on way. Good luck Ironman Mere!!!!

    Reply
  • Jenn graham

    June 10, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Holy Cow….your timing couldn’t be more perfect…maybe there is a planetary alignment creating an extra special discipline for the ladies of Ironman 2013….The EXACT….EXACT thing is happening at my house….at this very moment…only I’m not getting the husband verbalizing what’s really going on…just the lashing out part right now. It’s very, very hard to ride 80miles or run 13 with a heavy heart…even more difficult to swim with one….as I’m sure you know. This event truly tests every limit and boundary we have in life. I know your almost at the starting line, but I also know crossing the finish won’t be the end for you….I don’t line up till November….that’s long way with building resentment….. 🙂

    Reply
  • Allyson

    June 10, 2013 at 8:34 am

    People change, we grow up and out of relationships, we evolve and the hard part is for the ones we love to adapt. They fell in love with one person and then we become someone else and they need time to get to know that person. I have transformed my life in the last 3 years as well but have included my hubby in every step, we are a team. We have been together for 26 years and now we are almost kid-free and we are working together on finding a life for ourselves, a life that includes things we do together and apart. Start dating your husband again, make special time for the 2 of you, it really helps, so does talking and being honest. It is worth it in the end. Before I got married a colleague told me that marriage was like the weather, it can be sunny and pleasant or raining and stormy and there can even be hurricanes but the sun always comes out again if you just wait for it and it feels great when it does. Wait for the sun, it is a great feeling when it arrives again.

    Reply
  • Jill

    June 10, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Thank you for posting this – No, really, Thank You very much. A few years back I decided to make a major change in my life and it shook my 8-year marriage out of its routine and into similar poo-fan collision territory. 2 years later we are on a continuous improvement plan for communication, time-management and prioritization as we deal with the increased independence that one member undertaking a vastly new direction requires. However, as it is said, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you…and changes – even those that don’t come about prettily or smoothly are often still for the better if looked at as all part of the growth process. Your honesty shows me that this type of struggle is probably natural under the circumstances, and that you’ve taken that first step toward conquering the big-change big-stress jitters. Loyal partnership is not always easy, but at the best of times it allows both to pursue dreams and callings accepting that it will be a bit of a roller coaster ride, sometimes laughingly and other times with hands in the air and screaming, but when the ride finally slows down, you look back and are proud that you didn’t panic,you stuck with it and didn’t toss your chips – and sometimes, you even join hands knowing you can take it and run for the bigger challenge a little further up. Best of luck, and you are both awesome and incredibly inspiring!

    Reply
  • Kim

    June 10, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Dear SBD, I get it. I married my best friend, but as years went by he became another person. you see, our marriage survived medical school, residency and setting up a practice.during med school I was promised one hour of his time just for me, a week. If we meet people out for dinner, they spoke in medical code words I knew nothing about.so many times I felt like the dummy as they all moved forward to become amazing respect physicians.it was the argument we had, that I was so left out .We had our first child and I felt like a single mom, he was away for training six months of that year. I nearly went crazy with a colicky baby that never slept more than two hours straight.fast forward…around our twelve year mark,he was a successful, loved by all doc. I was a fat wife mom, miserable. We bought bikes, started to ride and found the last three miles of our ride were our get reaquainted time. He ran a few 5ks with me to support me, I found a few friends to do longer races with .but I never felt like he understood what Abigail deal the races were for me. After so many years of lifting him up, supporting him in so many ways, I just wanted him to be at that finish line for me.life sucked many times through all of these, now 25 years.but we did it, including two great kids,,,oh those kids years were tough! We learned,,, sometimes it’s his turn to shine and move forward, sometimes it’s mine. It would be easy for me to resent him for all he has done,,, but wait a minute! he did it all with me supporting him, making it possible for him to dedicate YEARS to training so that patients can call him the best doc they have ever had.while you feel like SBM is changing and moving away from you with her training friends and you are stuck with the crappy jobs in marriage, take an step back and consider this. What a crazy amazing person it takes to dedicate this training time to the ironman.would you rather see her home all the time, no friends, no goals? While she gets “fame” for blogging this journey, I have never once not given you credit for holding things together behind the lines. Lift her up as you want her to lift you.give her giant comforting, unconditional hugs. When the race is over, enjoy Saturday mornings when the kids come jump on the bed and wake you up too early. Those are magical times, the kids grow up too fast and you will cherish those memories down the road. Marriage is a bit like a super ironman. Just when you think you may drown in the swim, you make it to the shore for the transition and start fresh with the run.This is your transition time. When she crosses that finish line hold her tight , make the transition and start “the run” together.

    Reply
  • Candy

    June 10, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Thank you both for your honesty. Having just finished my first full IM I understand where both of you are coming from. When I finished I was ready to sign up for another one, the hubby…..not on board for that. Because I don’t want him or my kids to resent IM and the toll it takes on our time we reached the compromise that next year I’ll do other races but not a full IM and then in 2015 they’ll support me doing another one. It’s not ideal for any of us, I’d like to do as many as possible and they’d be happy if I stopped at one but this arrangement has made all of us content. I know it’s hard. Both of you need to know that you’re not alone, many many couples go through this. My husband isn’t involved in tri activity of his own at ALL so he often feels left out. We’ve finally found the balance for now. That doesn’t mean that we won’t have to readdress it at some point but I know you two can find your happy medium!!! I know you will!!

    Reply
  • Jessica Russell

    June 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, because, as any triathlete mom knows, navigating family issues is probably THE hardest part of training. Harder than 4 hours on the trainer. Harder than hill repeats, harder than pulling your wetsuit over your thighs. in 2012 I set a goal to do Ironman Arizona as my first full in 2014. Did I set my goal that far in advance to make sure I was trained well enough? No. I did it so that I had two years to prepare my husband for how much time I’d need to train. To try and show him how well I can fit in my training without it impacting the family. To convince him that this sport makes me a happier and better mom, even when I just seems like it’s making me a more tired and cranky mom. My husband is pretty supportive about 80% of the time. The other 20% (who am I kidding, it’s more like 40%) of the time he’s just annoyed with how much time I’m away from the family. And I’m only training for a half Ironman this year! What will next year bring? Who knows. I sure know I’m doing my best to balance family and training, but I’m also not going to give this up, so I hope the husband and kids get on board. Thank you for airing your “dirty laundry,” because we’re all going through it. I wish you the best, in your race and in your life. I have no doubt you will rock all of it! Hang in there.

    Reply
  • Adrienne

    June 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    This post totally hit home for me and my marriage. I have a month to go before my race and feel somedays that we, as a couple, are not going to make it. At least your guy gets out there with you.

    Reply
  • Kelly

    June 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I am a runner and my husband watches the kids while I train for a half marathon. I want to train for a triathlon but I know the time it would take to train for 3 sports is not something my marriage can handle now. So, I am glad you all talked about how hard this is on your marriage but I am glad you did it for yourself and for all of us who can’t do it now.

    Reply
  • Julie Jones

    June 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    So wonderful…thank you. You have both been such an inspiration to me. I quietly cheer you on. My husband is not involved in endurance sports like me and I know it is very hard when I am away for long periods, go to races, etc. I often forget how much he has sacrificed so that I can follow my dreams. Thank you again!

    Reply
  • Linda

    June 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    My husband gets fed up with my training when I am training for a sprint tri! IM events require a ridiculous amount of training and sacrifice but you are almost there now and if the Expert has made it this far, he will make it to the end. But Meredith, after the excitement is over and you are looking for your next challenge, remember how important he is. Maybe it is his turn to do something while you offer support, I sure there will be plenty of blogging opportunities in that too.

    Reply
  • Cassie

    June 10, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Oh no friend 🙁 So sorry to read this…you’re both definitely in my thoughts and I’m sending good relationship vibes your way!

    Reply
  • Cristen P

    June 12, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    That you both are talking about the trouble brewing is a huge step in working together to put it all behind you once the race is over. And honestly, once it’s over, there could be a huge void in Meredith’s outlook, the dreaded post-race letdown….but maybe it is time for her to support SBD while he does Augusta, or else do it together and take turns with the kids. Just don’t stop communicating, even if its blog-to-blog. Most of the ended marriages I know about (including mine) have one person making changes and the other oblivious of how to handle it or that its even happening. Not the case here!

    Reply

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